Highmark Center Street and Data Center buildings earn Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR certification for outstanding energy efficiency

Sep 27, 2012, 09:30 ET from Highmark Inc.

CAMP HILL, Pa., Sept. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Highmark announced today that it has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) ENERGY STAR certification for its 1800 Center Street and Data Center buildings. This award signifies that each building performs in the top 25 percent of similar facilities nationwide, meeting strict energy efficiency performance levels set by the EPA.

"Highmark is pleased to be recognized with EPA's ENERGY STAR certification in response to our energy efficiency efforts," said Highmark Sustainability Coordinator, Phyllis Barber. "We are committed to sustainable, eco-friendly business practices and continually look for means to lower energy use and decrease our footprint on the environment."

Commercial buildings that earn EPA's ENERGY STAR certification use an average of 35 percent less energy and also release 35 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere than similar buildings across the country. 

"Improving the energy efficiency of our nation's buildings is critical to protecting our environment," said Jean Lupinacci, director of the commercial and industrial branch for ENERGY STAR. "From the boiler room to the board room, organizations are leading the way by making their buildings more efficient and earning EPA's ENERGY STAR certification."

Highmark implements strategies throughout its facilities to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gases. The company's energy conservation efforts such as the installation of energy-efficient lighting and the reduction of lighting, heating and air conditioning usage resulted in an average 5.6 percent decrease in energy consumption for the company and a savings of approximately $250,000 in energy costs in 2011.

The 612,000-square-foot building located at 1800 Center Street in Cumberland County, has undergone renovations designed in accordance with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. Renovations feature energy-efficient HVAC systems and motion-detector lighting. Highmark also implemented power usage reduction software that allows computers at individual workstations to automatically be put into sleep mode when not in use during the hours of 5:30 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The Data Center located near Hershey, Pa, operates efficiently on a daily basis by utilizing state-of-the-art systems to manage power, water consumption and more. Natural light is used in 93 percent of occupied areas of the building, and 80,000 gallons of water is stored underneath the facility from rain water collected off the roof to cool the building naturally.

"The Data Center received LEED Silver Certification for New Construction in 2005. Its energy efficient systems and equipment have reduced our energy consumption and operating costs," said Tammy Petrasic, director of facilities management at Highmark. "We are pleased with the results at our facilities and are hopeful to further increase these numbers in the future."

About Highmark
Highmark Inc., based in Pittsburgh, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. Highmark serves 4.9 million members in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware through the company's health care benefits business and is one of the largest Blue plans in the nation. Highmark has 20,000 employees across the country and provides a broad range of health and wellness related services through subsidiary and affiliate companies. For more information, visit www.highmark.com. Learn more about Highmark's sustainability efforts at www.highmark.com/environment.

ENERGY STAR was introduced by EPA in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Today, the ENERGY STAR label can be found on more than 60 different kinds of products as well as new homes and commercial and industrial buildings that meet strict energy-efficiency specifications set by the EPA. Over the past twenty years, American families and businesses have saved a total of nearly $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.7 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions with help from ENERGY STAR. Visit www.energystar.gov to learn more.

SOURCE Highmark Inc.